Ellen F. Davis is Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke University Divinity School and is the author of eight books, including Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible.

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Psalm 65

by Ellen F. Davis 05-01-2012

Sidebar to "God the Farmer"

God the Farmer

by Ellen F. Davis 05-01-2012
Psalm 65 gives us a unique portrait of a deity who tends the soil, waters its furrows, and crowns the year with a rich harvest.

Food-related coverage in this issue was supported by ELCA World Hunger (www.elca.org/hunger)

The Psalms are the icons of the Bible. Icons are paintings of Christ or another holy figure used in worship and devotions in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. They are, like the Bible itself, understood to be inspired by the Holy Spirit. The psalms resemble icons in that they are the most visual part of the Bible: They speak to our religious imaginations in memorable verbal images; they create pictures in our minds. Icons are considered to be “windows into heaven.” They are an opening from our world into the world to come. But of course one can look through a window in both directions: Icons open out from this world into the kingdom of God, and at the same time they let us see our world from the perspective of that one.

And that is exactly what the psalms do: They reveal to us our world, our own lives, from a God’s-eye point of view. When you ponder a psalm deeply, you find your ordinary perspective on the world challenged and gradually changed.

I want to focus on Psalm 65, which speaks to us powerfully about God and creation and our own place in the created order. As you read it, think of yourself as encountering an icon, a holy image given us so the eyes of our hearts may be enlightened, as the Apostle Paul says (Ephesians 1:18), so that we may see our world and ourselves as God might see us.

In this verbal icon, I see four things that might surprise us, enlightening the eyes of our heart.